How to Prepare for the Annular Eclipse in Southern Utah this October

This year, October is bringing more than candy and insensitive costumes. An annular solar eclipse is set to occur on Saturday, Oct. 14th and will pass through seven states and thirty national parks, including most of southern Utah. City folks are gearing up for the trip and small, southern towns are skeptical about the tourists that might trash their public parks and national monuments. Here’s how to prepare for the solar event, where to see it, and a few stargazing events to attend.

What is an annular solar eclipse?

An annular solar eclipse, like a total solar eclipse, occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. However, when an annular eclipse occurs the moon is in orbit farther away from the Earth and is unable to block the sun completely leaving a burning outline around the moon’s silhouette which is why this type of eclipse is nicknamed “Ring of Fire.” Not only is this event extremely rare, but it will be the second solar eclipse of the year.

When and Where

Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Glen Canyon, Grand Staircase Escalante, Bears Ears, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, and Rainbow Bridge will all experience the full eclipse.

Capitol Reef: 

9:10 am MDT: Partial solar eclipse begins

10:27 am MDT: Annularity begins.

10:32 am MDT: Annularity ends. Partial solar eclipse resumes.

11:57 am MDT: Partial solar eclipse ends

Check out NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio for a complete map and timeline of the eclipse. For weather updates in the area go to eclipsophile.com

Lodging

No need to plan your lodgings ahead of time! With thousands of people pouring into small towns that are ill-equipped to handle such a sudden and large influx of tourists, you can be sure that they have reserved a space for you. 

However, if you do wish to book your stay in advance, hotels are available in many towns surrounding Capitol Reef. Please visit the Wayne County, Utah Office of Tourism page for more information.

Camping

Camping reservations at Capitol Reef are fully booked. Check out camping alternatives in the area. Neighboring Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) lands do permit dispersed camping, please inquire locally for dispersed camping rules and ethics.

Special Events

Snow College in Richfield, UT is hosting an eclipse event. There will be science experiments, telescopes, and more. Visit the Snow College website for more information.

Visitors can also hike any of the frontcountry or backcountry trails for a unique perspective amongst the rock outcrops of Capitol Reef National Park. Any overnight backpacking trips do require a free backcountry permit which can be obtained at the visitor center.

Ranger programs at Capitol Reef

October 9 – 13:

Daily astronomy activities at 11 am; 30 minutes at Ripple Rock Nature Center lawn.

Daily solar scope viewing outside the visitor center, stop by to look safely at the sun. Times to be determined.

October 12, special eclipse evening program at 7:30 pm at the campground amphitheater.

Safety and Impact

Remember, it is NEVER safe to view an eclipse without certified eyewear. But don’t worry about properly disposing of your glasses. The good residents of Torrey and other small towns will be THRILLED to watch as city-dwellers leave their paper glasses all over parks and public spaces.


Utah boasts the highest density of certified dark sky parks in the world! Learn more.

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Michaelis Lyons
Michaelis Lyons
Michaelis is a current Editorial Intern for Salt Lake Magazine and a recent graduate from Westminster College.

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